Motor Learning and Drop Jump Techniques

Effects of Orthotic Intervention on Neuromuscular Adaptations and Performance Gains

Jeanmarie R. Burke, Ph.D., and M. Owen Papuga, M.S ., New York Chiropractic College


Stretch shortening cycle (SSC) exercises, such as drop jumps, are known to improve the mechanical output of muscles. The primary neural factor contributing to the increased mechanical output of the muscle during SSC exer­cises is the stretch reflex response (SRR). An understanding of the plasticity of the SRR provides insights on the adaptive capacity of the neuromuscular system. However, there are limited data on training adaptations to SRR during SSC exercises. Adaptations of the SRR may be more evident during motor learning than following exercise training, because of the concept of task specificity and the contributions of movement coordination to skilled human performance. In addition, an optimal orthotic, which improves footwear comfort, may improve human performance by enhancing neuromuscular efficiency. Specifically, effective dampening of soft tissue vibration by orthotics may reduce muscle activity, minimize fatigue, and increase comfort perception. The potential conse­quences of undamped soft tissue vibrations are impairments to neuromuscular efficiency. The purpose of the study was to establish that motor learning occurred during SSC exercises and to determine the effects of orthotic intervention on neuromuscular adaptations and performance gains during motor learning.



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